On social media, greetings of Happy 4/20 from all over the world filled newsfeeds. To some who understands the meaning and can relate, a quick reply of greeting like that during Christmas can be read. However, there are those who are not familiar with the term and would still check on Google for clarification.

The story behind the celebration

The term 4/20, 4:20 or 420 is one that refers to smoking cannabis. It specifically refers to consuming the herb around 4:20 PM or AM and smoking and celebrating it during April 20 every year. In 1971 a group of high school friends in San Rafael, California first used the term in connection with their mission to search for an abandoned cannabis field based on a treasure map made by a grower.

The group of friends called themselves Waldos because they use the wall outside of their school as a hangout. The Waldos agreed to meet at the statue of Louis Pasteur every day at 4:20 PM, it was at first called 4:20 Louis. After several failed attempts, they shortened it to 4:20, which later became the code used for smoking weed.

According to several reports, it was Steven Hager of High Times who hyped up the story of the Waldos to the extreme. He wrote the Stoner Smart or Stoner Stupid, in which he advocated that 4:20 PM be a socially accepted hour of the day for smoking cannabis.

Theories about the term

According to one of the many claims, it is one way of remembering the Nazi leader and German dictator Adolf Hitler.

The former German leader was born on April 20, 1889.

Another theory claims that the numbers are the radio code used by the police or other authorities to conceal their description of catching people smoking cannabis. Therefore, those who are smoking the weed used the code as their own to refer to their special holiday. In reality, that number is a code used for homicide.

There are also claims that the code refers to the numbers of the chemical compound found in cannabis. Obviously, it is not accurate. Another claim is that they are digits from Bob Dylan’s song "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35." In one of the lines, it says, everybody must get stoned. However, the trick is to multiply 12 and 35 and you get, of course, 420.